COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Ethiopia

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Ethiopia

Last Updated: 10/19/2020

COVID-19, flooding and a locust outbreak are creating a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia. Some areas are recording a 50% increase in hospitalizations due to severe acute malnutrition. Families are struggling to earn a wage or obtain food because of the economic slowdown and the destruction of crops throughout the country. The prime minister announced on Oct. 14 that the country will increase its health budget by 46% in order to respond to the pandemic.

All Compassion child development centers have paused group activities, meetings and training. Partner church staff members in Ethiopia have distributed 431,964 food packs and 306,744 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 18,857 individuals. Center workers are diligently checking on children and looking for signs of abuse and providing trauma counseling as needed. Additionally, staff has ensured that 526 centers across the nation have working hand-washing facilities for children, families and the community to access. Recently, flooding has affected parts of the country, and Compassion Ethiopia staff members are visiting affected church partners to offer assistance.

COVID response in Ethiopia

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Ethiopia?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Ethiopia, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming. Watch this video for a detailed explanation of how COVID-19 is affecting Compassion centers and how local partners are caring for each registered child during this season.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Currently, all centers in Ethiopia are closed in order to abide by local guidelines. Staff members are working to create virtual programming activity, including videos and livestreams. They continue to call and check in on families, and in some communities they are able to visit children while obeying social distancing guidelines. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 431,964 food packs and 306,744 hygiene kits to children and their families!

COVIS response in Ethiopia

child reading IconStory From the Field

Chaltu and her husband, Abebe, dreamed of becoming farmers to secure a better future for their three children. Their dreams faded, though, in the daily struggle of putting food on the table for their family. When their second son, Birhanu, joined the Compassion Child Sponsorship Program, the struggle eased a little. The provision of school supplies, clothing and medical care for Berhanu allowed them to focus on the needs of their other two children and work to provide for them.

Two years later, the couple was thrilled to learn that they had been selected to participate in the Compassion center's farming income-generating activity along with 18 other caregivers. The families worked hard on their farms, encouraged and supervised by the center staff. When news of the first COVID-19 case reached their town, they followed protective measures while harvesting tomatoes and cabbages and readying them for sale. A few weeks into the pandemic, they sold their produce and divided the profit among themselves after paying off the seed money they received from the center. Chaltu and Abebe were successful farmers!

“Had it not been for the income-generating scheme the center facilitated for us, we would have been in the same position as those who depended only on food distributions from the church,” says Chaltu. “Considering our family size, I can tell you for sure that I wouldn’t have been able to feed my children, let alone have a clear work plan and secured farmland for next year. I get chills just thinking about what I would have done.”

10-year-old Berhanu, who spends his spare time working alongside his father on the farm, says, “This work is better than the work my parents had previously because they have more money now and they buy me clothes. We always have food at home. My mom even shares meals with our neighbors who don’t have work because of COVID-19.”

How can I pray for Ethiopia?

Pray for restored energy and creativity for the frontline church partner staff as they continue to serve the children and families in their communities. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Ethiopia
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
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